Sprint to Shut Down WiMAX Service ~Nov 6, 2015

Overview:

At long last, Sprint has confirmed it will be turning off of its WiMAX service on or around November 6th, 2015.  That’s a little over 1 year for owners of WiMAX mobile devices (including laptops with WiMax cards/dongles) to switch to LTE .  WiMAX mobile devices will still work in 3G mode after that, but one doesn’t buy a 4G device or interface to use it in 3G mode, especially after a few years of ownership.

The time frame for the shutdown was originally reported by a blog on Android Central this past weekend, which cited an internal Sprint memo detailing the company’s network plans. Yesterday, Sprint spokeswoman Adrienne Norton confirmed the date to FierceWireless.

In April, Sprint said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would “cease using WiMAX technology  by the end of 2015.” As part of that effort, Sprint said it identified  approximately 6,000 “redundant sites that we expect to decommission and  terminate the underlying leases.”

This author long ago forecast the demise of mobile WiMAX, because no other major wireless telcos or mobile device makers (except Samsung) were supporting it.  In a September 2006 blog post, we asked “Will the Real “Mobile WiMAX” please stand up!”

What’s Cooking Now in Sprint’s Wireless Broadband Kitchen:

Sprint says it already has built its 4G LTE network to serve more than 255 million people, with more on the way, making it easy for customers to take advantage of all the great features on smartphones.

In addition to Sprint’s all-new 3G network and its 4G LTE network, Sprint is deploying Sprint Spark, a technology designed to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications, including new generations of online gaming, virtual reality and advanced cloud services. It enables stutter-free video chat on-the-go and mobile gaming that leaves lag behind. Sprint Spark is an enhanced LTE service that’s built for data and designed to deliver average wireless speeds of 6-15Mbps and peak wireless speeds of 50-60Mbps today on capable devices, with increasing speed potential over time. Sprint plans to reach 100 million Americans by year-end with the service.

Beginning Oct. 10, the Sprint Business Share Plan will again double the data, now delivering 240GB to 800GB of data to business customers with 50 to 100 lines.  The latest promotion, running through Oct. 31, 2014, provides businesses double the data for $50 to $150 less per month than a similar promotion from AT&T.

The Road Ahead will be Very Bumpy:

A recent SEC regulatory filing confirms mass layoffs at Sprint.  With its latest round of layoffs and cost-cutting, it will be difficult for the smaller size company to expand and upgrade it’s LTE infrastructure and continue on the M2M/IoT path it had set for itself over four years ago.

Viodi View – 12/17/2012

Ken Pyle interviews Neil Mylet of Loadout Technologies
Neil Mylet

The Software Farmer

At the depths of the cold dark winter with an economy sputtering and the future seemingly grim, there remain sparks of light that point to a brighter future. We caught up with one of those sparks last June at the TIA Convention and Conference in Dallas. Neil Mylet is a young man with a company that produces some innovative products in rural America, but who has a vision that is even bigger and extends into helping farmers in Africa help themselves. He is more proof that “youth are our present“. Click here to read more and view our exclusive video interview with this Boilermaker alum and farmer/tech executive.


John Hane, counsel with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
John Hane, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Follow the Money – Sports Programming, Golden Goose & Possible TV Revolution

Although not explicitly stated by any of the panelists, the political adage, “follow the money,” was an underlying theme to the Broadband Unlimited Webinar on Retransmission Consent. There seemed to be agreement among the panelists – all of whom have been involved in the retransmission/must-carry regulatory game since it was enacted with the 1992 Cable Act – that money paid to the talent on the production side of the media business is at the root of what translates into higher pay-TV subscription bills for the consumer. Click here to read more from this webinar that featured Chris Cinnamon of Cinnamon Mueller, John Hane of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP  and Matt Polka of the American Cable Association.


A close up of ZTE Set-Top
Close up of ZTE Set-Top

Are Huawei & ZTE Fading Superstars? New Investments Seen Mostly as a Publicity Ploy! by Alan Weissberger

For several years now, China’s Huawei and ZTE had very strong growth rates and became major players in the telecom equipment market.  Both companies also make low cost mobile phones that are popular all over the world (yes, they are sold in the U.S.). But their growth seems to be slowing and ZTE actually had a loss in the most recent quarter. Click here to read more.


Infonetics: Mobile Infrastructure Market DOWN in Quarter & Year Except for LTE-Growth in 2013; Small Cells not so Hot! by Alan Weissberger

2012 Infonetics 3Q12 2G. 3G 4G LTE Infrastructure Market Forecast.
Image courtesy Infonetics

With the continued exponential growth in mobile data traffic, one would expect a substantial increase in sales of mobile (2G/3G/4G) network infrastructure equipment.  Not so, according to Infonetics Research, which released excerpts from its 3rd quarter 2012 (3Q12) 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE and WiMAX) Infrastructure and Subscribers market share and forecasts report, which tracks 2G, 3G, and 4G (LTE and WiMAX) network equipment and subscribers. Click here to read more.


NSN Exits Optical Network Business; Who Will Be the Last Optical Network Vendor(s) Standing? by Alan Weissberger

Fiber optic spool on trailer credit, Ken Pyle
Fiber Optic Duct Spool

Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) is selling its optical networking business unit to private investment firm Marlin Equity Partners, a Los Angeles-based private investment firm with over $1bn of capital under management.  The new company intends to operate as “an industry leader in the fragmented optical networking sector.”   This  transaction is another step in the transformation of NSN into a “mobile broadband specialist,” the company said. Click here to read more.


Trends in Cloud Data Center, Networking & Mobile Apps- from the Server Design Summit by Alan Weissberger

Image Courtesy of IBM
Image Courtesy of IBM

“The data center is the cloud,”  said 40 year IT veteran Dileep Bhandarkar, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft, during the closing panel session at this year’s Server Design Summit, which was held November 27-28, 2012 in Santa Clara, CA. Whether that will  be as famous a tagline as Sun Micro’s, “The network is the computer,” remains to be seen. What was clear from this very informative conference is that Cloud resident data centers are and will be quite different from data centers that reside on customer premises. The local network which interconnects switches and servers in such cloud data centers will also be different, with different protocols employed for switching. Click here to read more.


Local Content

In a world cluttered with content choices, it would not have been a surprise if the importance of local content had diminished in the six years since Viodi’s previous survey of Independent Broadband Providers. The results of the current survey indicate just the opposite; that interest in the creation and distribution of local content by Independent Broadband Operators is as strong as ever. And the main motivations for creating local content are to serve as a differentiator and service to a community. Those who responded to the survey, standby, as the Executive Summary will be sent out shortly.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • A Stocking-full of Coal for Kingsford’s Nicest Person On Social Media – Clorox owns Kingsford – this must be clean coal
  • With their widespread deployment of WiFi Hot Spots, will cable operators come up with a hybrid WiFi/3G/4G offering similar to the value deal from Republic Wireless?
  • Good chart from Will Richmond/Videonuze summarizing recent sports deals. I’m still waiting for one of these kind of deals to trickle down to my youth sports league.

The Korner – We Wish You A Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas…… a Roger Bindl Video

Image of 9 Snowmen singing, "We wish you a Merry Christmas."
Click to View

It is the  time of the year for Roger Bindl to provide his interpretation of a classic Christmas song. In the video that can be found at the following link, Bindl managed to coerce nine snowmen into singing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” Somehow, I think Roger rewrote the lyrics slightly, as I don’t think “beer” was in the original. Still, it is a clever way to express the sentiment of the season and reflect Viodi’s wishes for its readers; thanks Roger and a Happy New Year!

Infonetics: Mobile Infrastructure Market DOWN in Quarter & Year Except for LTE-Growth in 2013; Small Cells not so hot!

Overview:

Image courtesy of Infonetics
Image courtesy of Infonetics

With the continued exponential growth in mobile data traffic, one would expect a substantial increase in sales of mobile (2G/3G/4G) network infrastructure equipment.  Not so, according to Infonetics Research, which released excerpts from its 3rd quarter 2012 (3Q12) 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE and WiMAX) Infrastructure and Subscribers market share and forecasts report, which tracks 2G, 3G, and 4G (LTE and WiMAX) network equipment and subscribers.

“LTE was indeed the lone bright spot this quarter, as the rest of the mobile infrastructure market dragged the overall market down, led by a sharp drop in CDMA gear.” said  Stéphane Téral, report author and principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research. Infonetics wrote that in 3Q12, the global 2G/3G/4G (including LTE and WiMAX) infrastructure market was down 4.7% from the previous quarter and down 4.0% from the year-ago quarter.

How could that be since operators were expected to continue to build out their 2G/3G/4G networks, especially 2G and 3G which are still the the most widely deployed mobile networks?  Mr. Teral thinks it’s because most of the wireless build out has already occurred.

In an email exchange to discuss the widespread lack of interest in wireless infrastructure, Stéphane wrote,

“The fact is that the wireless infrastructure on this planet is essentially built out and to find other opportunities, you need to find another planet. That’s what I’ve been saying for some time!  75% of total 2G/3G subscribers are still on GSM, meaning a long migration process to 3G, despite all headlines and deceptive marketing hype about 4G (LTE. WiMAX, HSPDA+), which technically is not 4G!”

Mr. Teral added,

This migration will be less capital intensive as network construction of the past two decades was. That’s why the mobile network infrastructure market is stagnant at best and definitely not sexy. Even LTE won’t pick up the slack and at current pace of investment, it’s going to be extremely difficult for early adopters to recoup the cost if consumers are not willing to pay more for bandwidth.”

However, Stéphane is optimistic for the mobile infrastructure market in 2013.  He wrote,

“Despite the current lethargy, we anticipate a strong pipeline moving forward, with 2013 fully charged with a good mix of 2G, 3G, and LTE equipment purchases. China Mobile alone has a nationwide TD-LTE rollout plan of 100,000 eNodeBs.”

Mobile Infrastructure Market Highlights:

  • In 3Q12, the global 2G/3G/4G (including LTE and WiMAX) infrastructure market was down 4.7% from the previous quarter and down 4.0% from the year-ago quarter
  • Nokia Siemens Networks jumped from #4 to #2 in the LTE equipment market after more than doubling its LTE revenue in 3Q12, significantly closing the gap with market leader Ericsson and passing Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei
  • From the year-ago 3rd quarter, global LTE infrastructure sales are up 131%
  • Infonetics forecasts LTE subscribers to grow nearly 5-fold to top 51 million worldwide in 2012
  • The Global Mobile Suppliers Association expects 166 commercial LTE networks by year end
  • CDMA2000 continued its freefall in 3Q12, down 16% sequentially and down 46% year-over-year, reflecting the beginning of the long declining tail curve
  • The WiMAX ecosystem is shrinking, with fewer vendors continuing to support the technology as they stake their long-term futures on LTE (this is no surprise with almost all the WiMAX network providers, e.g. Sprint and Clearwire, moving to LTE rather than WiMAX 2.0 or IEEE 802.16m)

Report Synopsis:

Infonetics’ quarterly 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE and WiMAX) report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, analysis, deployment trackers, and forecasts for LTE, WiMAX, and 2G/3G mobile network equipment and subscribers. The report tracks more than 50 subsegments of the market, including radio access networks (RAN), base transceiver stations (BTSs), mobile softswitching, packet core equipment, and E-UTRAN macrocells. Vendors tracked include Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Datang Mobile, Ericsson, Fujitsu, GENBAND, HP, Huawei, NEC, NewNet, Nokia Siemens Networks, Proxim, Redline Communications, Samsung, UTStarcom, ZTE, and many others.


Other Opinions:

Worldwide Mobile Communications Revenue
Chart courtesy of IHS iSuppli

Market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli uses a different set of metrics to track the mobile communications market. IHS defines mobile communications equipment factory revenue as what manufacturers earn from the sale of devices into the channel – in this case, mobile communications equipment like smartphones and other handsets. The category also includes wireless infrastructure gear such as routers.

According to IHS iSuppli, the market for mobile communications equipment will grow by 13% this year, propelled by climbing shipments of mobile handsets and tablets, particularly devices supporting the 4G long term evolution (LTE) wireless standard.

Total factory revenue from original equipment manufacturers making mobile communications equipment is projected to reach $376 billion by year-end, up from $334 billion in 2011.  LTE spending will be double that of 2011 at $8bn.

Next year, overall revenue for mobile communications equipment is forecast to rise to $444bn. Driven by mobile broadband, the five-year compound annual growth rate until 2016 is expected to amount to 11%.   The market for ICs for mobile infrastructure will be $74bn this year up 5% on 2011.

Link to IHS iSuppli Report

Meanwhile, ABI Research said that wireless infrastructure equipment revenues decreased 10.3 percent in the third quarter of 2012 to $11.3 billion from the same quarter one year ago.  Third quarter wireless infrastructure equipment revenues were down 1.0% from the second quarter of 2012, the firm said in a press release.

http://www.abiresearch.com/press/nokia-siemens-networks-and-samsung-stand-out-in-st

“There is no question that the RAN market has been squeezed in 2012, although we have seen improvements in the 3Q, being 8 percent down from the 14 percent decrease we saw in 1Q,” said Aditya Kaul, practice director for mobile networks at ABI Research. “Even with 4Q bringing in the traditional Christmas cheer, 2012 will end up 10 percent down at the very least, which is bound to cause market share shifts especially in the top 3,” Kaul added.

—————————————————————————————–

What About the Small Cell?

What about the increased use of small cells and nano base stations to facilitate spectrum re-use and hence deal with the mobile data capacity crunch?  Won’t that boost the mobile infrastructure market?

In an earlier report co-authored by Mr. Teral and Richard Webb, Infonetics debunked the hype around small cells by stating,

“Small cell market is not big enough for all who want to play in it.”

“In terms of units, yes, small cell numbers can be big, but don’t get too excited – there are a lot of serious issues that need to be resolved, and some that cannot be resolved,” Mr. Teral said.  “Let’s say an operator has thousands of small cells; how do you manage them all? How do you backhaul them? When we talk to carriers, backhaul is always the biggest issue. And then of course they have to get interference under control. Don’t get me wrong; there is no question that a small cell market exists and it is growing fast. But the volumes will not be high enough to support the number of vendors trying to get into the small cell space. There is no ‘El Dorado‘ in small cells. A vendor battle is looming and not everyone is going to win.”

Co-author Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and mobile offload at Infonetics, added:

“Public access femtocells already make up more than 70% of all small cells shipped worldwide. Deploying femtocells in public metro spaces could help mobile operators address the data offload challenge. As operators utilize LTE femtocells to complement coverage and capacity for LTE macro deployment, the 4G femtocell segment will take off, becoming the main growth engine of the small cell market by 2014. In the meantime, carrier WiFi will be a faster-growing solution for offload, as it is often less complex to deploy compared to cellular-based small cells.”

Small Cell Market Highlights:

  • The number of small cell units sold is forecast to grow nearly 40-fold from 2011 to 2016, including 3G microcells and picocells, 4G mini eNodeBs, and 3G and 4G public access femtocells
  • Infonetics expects global small cell revenue to grow at a 73% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the 5 years from 2011 to 2016
  • Asia Pacific dominates the small cell market and will continue to do so through at least 2016
  • Issues affecting small cell deployment vary from region to region and include backhaul link quality and affordability, inter-cell interference, spectrum availability, and regulatory restrictions
Note about Infonetics Research:
This author relies on Infonetics for state of the art market research in telecom and networking, but has no business relationship with the firm.  To buy their reports, please contact Infonetics: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp

AT&T to Expand U-Verse & IP-DSLAM; Bring Fiber to Commercial Buildings & Cover 99% of US with LTE!

In the most significant announcement since SBC acquired the old AT&T and became “the new” AT&T, the telco giant announced it will spend $14B over the next three years to expand its wireline and wireless networks under its newly coined “Project Velocity” initiative.  The company wants to move to an all IP network platform, which means they’ll be phasing out TDM transmission and the PSTN.

Surprising most analysts, AT&T said $6B of that $14B will be spent on wireline upgrades.  In particular:

1.  Residential Broadband via U-Verse, IP-DSLAM and (in some rural areas) LTE:

Traditional U-Verse (TV, high-speed Internet, VoIP) as well as U-Verse IP-DSLAM (high-speed Internet, VoIP, but NO TV service) will be available in many more areas with Internet access speeds of 75M b/sec for most customers, with many achieving speeds of up to 100 M b/sec (downstream).

Currently, 32% of AT&Ts customers are covered by (triple play) U-Verse, which will increase by one-third to 8.5M additional customers and 43% coverage by the end of 2015.   U-Verse revenues are running at a $9B annual rate and increasing at a 38.6% annual rate.  AT&T is making “customer retention improvements in all areas.”  (Presumably to avoid losing U-Verse customers to triple play MSO services, e.g Comcast/Xfinity which runs commercials enticing U-Verse customers to come back to Comcast for better high speed Internet and TV service).

AT&Ts wired IP broadband network will expand to 75 percent of residential customer locations in AT&T’s 22-state wireline service area by year-end 2015.  Not all of those potential customers will be able to get U-Verse TV service.  Rather, they will be connected to IP DSLAMs to achieve higher speed Internet access.  (This means AT&T will be jettisoning its ATM over ADSL network in favor of IP/Ethernet transport to/from customer premises to its initial point of presence where the DSLAM resides.  Customers currently using ATM over ADSL will have to be retrofitted with new CPE to access U-Verse IP DSLAM or traditional U-Verse).

AT&T's wireline coverage
Image Courtesy of AT&T

The higher Internet access speeds (over last mile copper) for U-Verse and IP DSLAM will be achieved by VDSL pair bonding, “small form electronics,” and VDSL vectoring.

Status Report: Currently about 9% of AT&T landline customers cannot get broadband, while 32% have the U-Verse triple play available to them, 32% have U-Verse IP DSLAM available and 27% are served via legacy broadband (i.e. non-IP DSL).

By the end of 2015, AT&T said 99% of customers in its 22 state service area will have broadband available to them via either via wireline or LTE option.  The breakdown is as follows: 43% of customers will have access to the U-verse triple play, 32% will have access to the U-verse IP DSLAM and the remaining 25% will need to rely on LTE, which will be available to 99% of AT&T’s customer base.

Other key points related to residential broadband are as follows:

  • Much higher speed wireline Internet, via either U-Verse triple play or U-Verse IP DSLAM (double play) will be available to 57M AT&T customer locations by 2015.  The IP DSLAM double play offering of broadband Internet and VoIP will be available to 24 million customer locations by year-end 2013.  Those customers will be offered  a triple play bundle based on IP DSLAM and satellite video service from Dish network.
  • Customers in rural or remote locations (presumably the 25% who won’t get wireline broadband access) will be able to get  LTE wireless access,  as AT&T plans to extend its 4G LTE build out to cover 300M POPs by end of 2014.
  • High speed IP connectivity will be available  to 99% of wireline service?area customers (via either U-Verse, IP-DSLAM or LTE) by 2015.

Summing up,  AT&T’s firmly believes that:

  • Wireline IP broadband is structurally attractive in dense population areas
  • IP broadband is the most important product in the triple or quad-play bundle
  • AT&T IP broadband will meet customers’ growing speed requirements
  • Significant synergies exist between wireless and wireline assets

2.  Fiber to the Building deployment:

AT&T will light fiber to reach 1 million additional business customer locations, covering 50 percent of multi-tenant office buildings in AT&T’s wireline service area by year-end 2015.  50% of those multi-tenant office buildings in AT&Ts wireline service area will be fiber connected. (That’s up from about 15% nationwide today).

3.  Strategic Business services:

IP VPN, Carrier Ethernet, (Web server) hosting and vaious  managed business services generated $6.4B in revenues last year  and is growing at 14.5% annually.  Wireline data and managed IT services for enterprise customers are growing at a rate in excess of 6%.

Cloud computing and security are seen as the next big growth opportunities as AT&T transitions to managed services for its enterprise customers. In particular, AT&T plans to partner with cloud service providers as well as providing cloud services over their own managed IP network that leverages performance, reliability and security.   During the Analyst Day webcast, AT&T said, “Virtualization and mobilization are driving the need for a ubiquitous, dense wireline footprint solutions that bundle cloud with connectivity (AKA Cloud Networking), symmetrical bandwidth, and security through active network management.”

Century Link/Savvis and Verizon/Terremark  are recognized cloud leaders each having very solid cloud computing with managed IP VPNs for delivery of cloud services.   They will now have much more competition from AT&T in the cloud space.


Additional information on U-Verse:

As indicated in the graph below, AT&Ts broadband market share is growing in areas where U-Verse is available to residential customers.

Image Courtesy of AT&T

U-Verse has delivered 5 years of top line growth for AT&T:

  • $9.5B revenues, which are growing 38% Year over Year
  • 7.1M IP broadband subscribers, with 2.5M added in last 12 months
  • 4.3M IPTV subscribers, 760K gained in last 12 months
  • 18% U-verse video penetration; 23% U-verse broadband penetration
  • ~$170 ARPU for U-verse triple-play service bundle
Synergies between AT&Ts wireline and wireless networks:

At a Wells Fargo investment conference on November 8th,  AT&Ts VP & CFO John Stephens said that AT&T evaluated commercial buildings with six tenants or more to determine whether they should get fiber connected.  Considerations included: distance from AT&Ts central office (CO), cost efficiency and build-out cost.

A huge side benefit for AT&T is that once the fiber to the building is installed and AT&T owns the right of way, the company will install Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) along the fiber route to provide increased 3G/LTE wireless coverage.  The DAS’s would use fiber backhaul to AT&Ts CO.  Mr. Stephens hinted that DAS’s (deployed along the fiber-to-the-building route) might also be used for  broadband wireless offload, but did not disclose any details how that might work or be configured.

[Infonetics analyst Stéphane Téral recently said in an email, “The majority of operators are still using distributed antennas (DAS) in their mobile networks for coverage, and despite all the talk about using small cells to boost capacity in large venues, operators we interviewed believe DAS will remain a fundamental tool for malls, airports, stadiums and the like.”]

Mr. Stephens was both enthusiastic and confident during his presentation.  He said, “AT&T is investing in tried and true things we know.  We are moving away from PSTN and torward an all IP network platform for delivery of all telecom services including voice.”

Closing Comment:

During its November 7th Analyst Day webcast, AT&T CEO  Randall Stephenson echoed Mr. Stephens confidence, “These are things we’ve done before – logical extensions of proven technologies and already successful businesses. We are very confident in our ability to execute this plan.”

Reference:

http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=23506&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=35661

Highlights of 2012 Sprint Open Solutions Conference, October 24-26, 2012 in San Jose, CA

Overview:

The annual Sprint Open Solutions conference is primarily for software developers to learn about Sprint’s partnerships and to stimulate creation of applications that will run on (smart) devices which access the Sprint network. While previous conferences focused more on the network itself (as an enabler of mobile devices and apps), this year’s event provided a close up view into the latest tools and capabilities from Sprint and their solution-enablement partners.

Additional topics included: new go-to-market services for developers, 4G LTE network and device technologies, network optimization best-practices, and Sprint’s mobile commerce, cloud and M2M (machine to machine) communications strategies.

According to Sprint’s Kristin Wallace, “For this year’s Open Solution Conference, we decided to focus on four key areas — mobile advertising, mobile commerce, mobile security and cloud services.”  The experts on Sprint’s next generation multi-frequency/muti-protocol wireless network (known as Network Vision) were not present, so that subject area was not discussed at the conference.

Author’s Note: A key point is that, unlike other wireless carriers, Sprint has to deal with four separate and disparate networks:  the soon to be shut down Nextel IDEN push-to-talk, Sprint’s legacy CDMA/3G-EVDO,  Network Vision (CDMA/3G-EVDO, LTE-FDD)+, and Cleawire’s Mobile WiMAX/ LTE-TDD). Looks like the last three of these networks will survive- at least for a couple of years.  

I wonder how the  transitioning,  switch-over process and inter-networking will be, especially for users; but that’s the subject of an entire different article.

+  Deployment of Network Vision has begun in the U.S.  It is a wireless network infrastructure that allows Sprint to run multiple network technologies/protocols and host multiple spectrum bands at the same set of base stations/cell sites. As it’s deployed, Sprint is installing LTE-FDD as well as upgrading its 3G/CDMA wireless network, while phasing out the narrowband iDEN network originally developed by Nextel. Sprint had said it expected the Network Vision deployment to reach 12,000 cell sites this year.

On its 3rd Quarter 2012 earnings call last Thursday, Sprint blamed its equipment vendors for a delay of about three months for its network upgrade plans, but said that it would not affect overall spending on the $7 billion Network Vision project.  The company said the delay related to logistics, execution and materials but did not single out a specific vendor from its three main suppliers: Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent SA and Samsung Electronics Co.  It’s not clear if the 2013 year end total coverage goals will be also delayed. Please see Dan Hesse’s Closing Keynote (below) for more on this topic.

Sprint’s Device Portfoliio, by David Owens, Sprint Vice President, Product Management & Logistics:

This session provided an overview of Sprint Device & Application Strategy for 2012-2013, including a look at some key industry Hardware and Software Trends in 2012 & 2013 and Sprint’s Network, Device, OS & Application Strategy going into 2013.

Sprint’s key area of focus for devices:

  • Strong iconic brands that will operate across different software platforms ( iOS, Android, Windows 8 and RIM).
  • Broad base of LTE end user products, including tablets, smart phones, M2M/Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Pre-paid and postpaid data plans available for most mobile devices.
  • Improved international offerings (assume that means making 3G/CDMA end devices operate on networks outside the U.S.)
  • Broader lineup of Sprint Direct Connect products (with Nextell IDEN network being shut off in 2013, the new Sprint network, i.e. Network Vision, will assume Push to Talk and similar functions).
  • Support for 3 Sprint LTE frequency bands (25=1900MHz, 26=800MHz, and 41=2.5GHz) in a single handset (“wildly complex” in terms of number of radios and antenna components on a handheld device circuit board).  Again, this capability will be delivered by Network Vision.
  • Ability to leverage products across prepaid and postpaid (single SKU concept- unique identifier for each type of service).

Outstanding Questions for 2013:

  • How big will the iOS tablet/handset market be (this point wasn’t qualified so one wonders if it was referring to Apple hardware shipment or 3rd party apps developed for that hardware)?
  • What will Google do with Motorola Mobility and will it be meaningful?
  • What will BB10 OS mean to RIM?  Don’t count RIM out just yet!
  • Will any other viable software platforms emerge in 2013?  For example, Windows 8 or HTML5 (instead of native apps with embedded browsers)?  [Sidebar: speaker chided AT&T for supporting  Windows Phone on mobile devices before that OS was solid.  He said Windows 8 would provide a much better experience for mobile device users.]

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse’s Closing Keynote:

This 30 minute talk seemed to be much more like a pitch to institutional investors rather than developers.  We will skip Mr. Hesse’s defense of why Sprint lost subscribers, importance of Softbank’s investment, latest ARPU and churn numbers, etc. Instead we’ll report key reasons that developers might want to partner with Sprint.  In that regard, Mr. Hesse stated:

  • Sprint has emerged as a much stronger network operator with the $20.1B Softbank investment (for 70% of the company).
  • Sprint is the fastest growing contract brand, in terms of net new customers, in the last two years.
  • Sprint network platform now has a record 52.9M total customers (it is unclear if that number includes Sprint WiMAX customers which access Clearwire’s network that’s resold by Sprint as a MVNO).
  • Sprint is recapturing Nextel customers -59% have converted to the Sprint network platform in the 3rd quarter 2012.
  • Customers want LTE.  Network Vision targets for end of 2012 will be delayed three months (as noted above).
  • Nationwide LTE coverage (via Network Vision) will be achieved by  end of 2013.  (Note there was no mention of whether Sprint will resell Clearwire’s LTE-TDD now being developed for global deployments).

Why partner with Sprint?

  • We’re doing the right thing! Innovation (450 patents granted in 2011), easy to do business with, increased level of public trust (due to Sprint’s technologies that provide security, privacy and safety), Wireless accessibility packs for blind or visually impaired, sustainability and ecology aware (#3 greenest U.S. company and only telco in the top 25).
  • Network Vision platform will include Push to X capability (presumably Push to Talk and similar instant connect features- video chat?)
  • Sprint is the only cellular operator offering unlimited 3G/4G data plans
  • Open platforms supported and no walled garden to control or exclude software vendors
  • Opportunity Funnel to help start-up companies with business plans and synergies with Sprint
  • Collaboration Center in Burlingame, CA for vendors with hardware and/or software they want to run on Sprint’s network.  Examples include M2M communications, video applications, and mobile health.

Summing up, Mr. Hesse noted that Sprint now ranks very high in customer satisfaction.  They’ve gone from last place to first place despite all their publicized financial difficulties and bad decisions (especially acquiring Nextel).


Author’s Experience with Sprint:

Of the three largest U.S. telcos, Sprint has been by far the easiest for IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) to work with.  ComSoc has had a very productive relationship and dialog with Sprint since at least 2006.  The IEEE ComSoc-Sprint bond was aided and abetted by Sprint’s M2M Solutions Manager Mike Finegan, who has been a long time friend and colleague of IEEE ComSoc.    Mr Finegan has spoken three times at IEEE ComSoc organized workshops, seminars, and technical meetings.  Our members thoroughly enjoyed the informative and impressive seminar and tour to their Collaborations Center in March 2011.  All the presentation materials from those events can be downloaded for free from the archive section of our website:

http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/ComSoc_2011_Presentations.php  (scroll down to March 7, 2011 for seminars at Sprint Collaboration Center)

http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/09242011_MikeFinegan.pdf

http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/Workshop_092510_SprintM2M.pdf

This author looks forward to further collaboration with Sprint, particularly in understanding the capabilities, features and functions of Network Vision.  A whole new set of applications could be made possible by that new network infrastructure, including mobile cloud, low latency real time video, and medical imaging.  Look for further updates.

 

Infonetics Research: LTE Leadership in Wireless Infrastructure, IMS, VoLTE, and CAPEX

LTE and Wireless Infrastructure:

Graphic courtesy of Infonetics

Infonetics Research reports that LTE spending is up 128% from the year-ago first quarter, and the number of mobile operators committing to LTE continues to increase rapidly. The prestigious market research firm forecasts the LTE equipment market to grow to $17.5 billion in 2016.   In its 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE and WiMAX) Infrastructure and Subscribers report,” Infonetics states that the global 2G, 3G, and 4G equipment market decreased 14% to just under $10 billion in the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12) following an 8% increase the previous quarter.  That’s pretty rough stuff for a wireless infrastructure market that is already incredibly competitive (thanks to Huawei and ZTE).

“The overall mobile infrastructure market took a beating in the first quarter of 2012,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research. “We saw weak 2G and 3G activity across the board, exacerbated by China Mobile’s dramatic GSM pause on the heels of extraordinary shipment levels in the previous quarter. LTE and WIMAX equipment revenue also declined sequentially. Nonetheless, LTE spending is up 128% from the year-ago first quarter, and the number of mobile operators committing to LTE continues to increase rapidly. Infonetics forecasts the LTE equipment market to grow to $17.5 billion in 2016.”

2G, 3G, 4G MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

  • From the year-ago first quarter, the overall 2G, 3G, and 4G infrastructure market, including LTE and WiMAX equipment, is down 8%
  • One bright spot of the quarter is 3G mobile packet core network equipment (GGSNs, SGSNs, PDSNs), up 4% sequentially and up 5% from 1Q11, reflecting ongoing 3G expansion activity tied to 2G modernization
  • 319 mobile operators have committed to LTE as of early May 2012, up from 285 the previous quarter, and 72 LTE operators have launched commercial services in 37 countries, according to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA)
  • In 1Q12, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent are once again neck and neck in the race for global LTE revenue leadership, followed by Huawei
  • Infonetics expects a spike in TD-SCDMA equipment spending this year due to China Mobile’s expanding TD-LTE trials aimed at helping it move quickly to 4G

LTE and IMS deployments:

Graphic courtesy of Infonetics

In related research, Infonetics reports that LTE is the top driver for IMS deployments, according to an IMS operator survey the firm conducted.   In its new IMS Service Strategies, Product Features, and Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey, carriers with IP Multimedia (voice, video, data) Subsystem core equipment in their networks were interviewed to assess their needs and to analyze trends in the IMS market.

“For the first time ever, LTE is the top driver for IMS deployments in our annual IMS service provider survey,” notes Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research. “But while LTE may be the number-one driver, the reality is the majority of services running over IMS today are fixed-line VoIP. None of our survey respondents has yet deployed voice over LTE (VoLTE).”

Myers adds: “Ultimately, the longer-term inevitability of an all-IP mobile network is leading operators to IMS for other services first, even if VoLTE services are farther down the road.”

IMS Survey Highlights

  • IMS networks continue to be deployed by fixed-line operators, mobile operators, and cable operators; 71% of Infonetics’ survey respondents have already deployed IMS and the rest are in the process of deploying IMS (a requirement for participating in the survey)
  • Fixed-line VoIP service is the mainstay of IMS deployments, with 76% of respondents running residential voice over broadband, SIP trunking, or hosted business VoIP over IMS today, growing to 100% by 2014
  • Mobile services are growing in importance: by 2014, 71% of respondent operators plan to offer RCS/e, more than half plan to offer VoLTE, and more or less a third will offer VoIP over 3G and mobile messaging
  • Ericsson continues to be the leading IMS vendor in terms of equipment installed by respondent operators
  • Huawei is a real standout in this year’s survey, growing its installed base every year among survey respondents and topping the vendor leadership list for pricing, total cost of ownership, product roadmap, financial stability, and reliability

South Korea and U.S. leading the VoLTE charge:

Graphic courtesy of Infonetics

Infonetics Mobile VoIP Services and Subscribers report, tracks native mobile voice over IP (a.k.a. voice over Long Term Evolution, or VoLTE) and over-the-top (OTT) mVoIP service revenue, subscribers, and deployments by world region.

“The US and Asia, especially South Korea, are leading the voice over LTE charge, with Verizon Wireless, Metro PCS, SK Telecom and LG U+ all planning to launch VoLTE services this year,” reports Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research. “In fact, South Korea and Hong Kong have already successfully launched LTE data roaming and by August, SK Telecom expects to have the Samsung Galaxy S3, the first handset to support VoLTE on their network. This is all good news for VoLTE, of course, but to put it in perspective, even with the VoLTE market ramping quickly here on out, by 2016 VoLTE will make up only about 14% of global mobile VoIP revenue, while over-the-top mobile VoIP continues to make up the lion’s share by far.”

Co-author of the report Diane Myers, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for VoIP and IMS, adds: “In the crowded OTT mobile VoIP market, Microsoft/Skype still dominates; however, while the tight integration of Skype with Windows Mobile 8 is important, the Windows Mobile operating system remains a distant player in the smartphone race. Meanwhile, independent OTT mVoIP providers like Google Voice, Fring, Line2, Nimbuzz, Talkonaut, ThruTu, and Truphone are working to differentiate from Skype and operator-driven OTT services such as T-Mobile’s Bobsled and Telefónica’s TU Me by making their service easier to use, lowering prices, integrating social networking, and adding video features. Still, with OTT mVoIP subscribers paying an average of only $14 per year, sustaining an OTT mobile VoIP service is extremely challenging, and most providers face daunting possibilities: go out of business or sell to a larger organization; or find a way to drive revenue beyond cheap calling.”

Mobile VoIP Market Highlights

  • The number of global OTT mobile VoIP subscribers more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, to 98 million, with about 40% of the subscribers based in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa)
  • With the first VoLTE services launching in late 2012, Infonetics expects the number of global VoLTE subscribers to reach about 300,000 this year
  • AT&T plans to have VoLTE in place by 2013, and Clearwire announced that it will offer VoLTE when it launches its TD-LTE network by mid-2013

Telecom Capex spike expected in 2012; Asia is world’s largest spender:

Graphic courtesy of Infonetics

Infonetics’  new report, Service Provider Capex, Revenue, and Capex-by-Equipment-Type, analyzes telecom operator revenue and capital expenditures (capex); forecasts capex by operator type, region, and telecom equipment segment; and provides insight into important telecom spending trends.  The firm expects a big CAPEX increase due to operators launching or expanding their LTE networks and modernizing their 3G mobile networks.

“We’re expecting a telecom capex hike in 2012 as operators around the world ramp their spending like crazy to launch LTE networks, modernize their mobile networks, and carry out national wireline broadband initiatives. Operators have to invest in their networks or they’ll disappear — competition is too cut-throat not to,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.

Téral adds: “High demand everywhere for telecom services, particularly mobile broadband, is fueling the latest investment cycle. The key capex contributors in 2012 will be Clearwire, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA in the US; NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile in Japan; and KT, LGU+, and SK telecom in South Korea. China recently revealed a US$58 billion economic stimulus package to fund a fresh round of investment in telecom infrastructure. Meanwhile, Europe’s Big 5 have increased capital intensity by 2 percentage points for the first time in 5 years, right in the middle of the critical economic downturn! As for Latin America, operators already spiked, with capex there up 25% in 2011, led by América Móvil and Telefónica.”

More Carrier CAPEX Highlights

  • Global telecom carrier capex grew 3% to $301 billion in 2011 from 2010
  • Spending on every type of network equipment grew in 2011, with the exception of TDM voice, which continued its steep decline
  • Asia Pacific was again the largest telecom carrier capex region, followed by EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa)
  • Infonetics expects worldwide capex to spike in 2012, then level out in 2015 and 2016 at around the US$345 billion mark
  • Wireless operators’ share of capex is forecast to grow from a quarter to nearly a third of global capex between 2012 and 2016, as the world continues to go mobile
  • Telecom service provider revenue grew 6% to $1.8 trillion worldwide in 2011 over 2010
  • Operators in Asia Pacific and EMEA are the largest revenue generators, each region with about a third of global revenue

To Purchase Infonetics Research Reports, Contact Sales:
N. America (West), Asia, Latin America: Larry Howard, larry@infonetics.com, +1-408-583-3335
N. America (East), Texas, Midwest: Scott Coyne, scott@infonetics.com, +1-408-583-3395
Europe, Middle East, Africa: George Stojsavljevic, george@infonetics.com, +44-755-488-1623
Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp

Acknowledgement:

The author graciously thanks Kim Peinado,  Infonetics Marketing Director, for providing information on the firm’s key research findings.  Kim is a true professional in a world full of amateur marketing and PR people!

Key Messages from IDC Directions 2012 for "The Network" – Part 2

Worldwide Cellular Infrastructure Revenue
Worldwide Cellular Infrastructure Revenue

Part 1 of this article summarized the big picture view from IDC Directions 2012 as well as changes in enterprise IT and network infrastructure/ architecture.  Mobility and next generation mobile network architecture’s are examined in this piece.

Essential guidance from IDC Analyst Courtney Munroe’s presentation on Mobility and the Cloud:

  • Cloud Applications and Traffic will grow exponentially by 2015
  • All Applications Providers must have a cloud Solution
  • Consolidation/Partnership inevitable
  • Apps will expand from basic categories to include HD Video/Business Analytics and LBS (Location Based Services) Apps

Take aways from John Byrne’s outstanding presentation (best of conference) on NextGen Mobile Architectures: Solving the Congestion Dilemma

Exponentially Increasing Mobile Data Traffic Is Driving Major Network Changes

Smartphones, tablets and dongles (oh my) driving major changes in wireless network infrastructure

  • Heterogeneous network” architectures required, with the focus rapidly turning to microcells, picocells, femtocells, distributed antenna systems, “cloud RAN”
  • Backhaul chokepoints must be resolved through a variety of solutions, including fiber, Wi-Fi offload and other fiber-to-the-cell deployments wherever feasible
  • Operators must be able to utilize every spectrum band available, as efficiently as possible, to keep pace with demand

Continued exponential data traffic growth requires a variety of solutions:

A capacity crunch is coming or is already here:

  • Operator assumptions regarding network traffic growth have been significantly exceeded form factor for video, download and upload
  • New M2M applications/form factors will develop to take advantage of high data throughput
  • Operators must take advantage of every solution available:
  • Wi-Fi more closely integrated into wireless network architectures
  • Multi-technology, multi-spectrum radios are the main focus in the macro-environment
  • Heterogeneous Network solutions to solve urban hotzone and in-building coverage challenges
  • FDD, TDD and FDD/TDD combinations to take advantage of all available spectrum bands
Total Spending on Connectivity
Total Spending on Connectivity

In the Macrocell environment, the focus of deployments is turning to the support of Base Stations that support multiple frequencies and multiple RAN technologies (e.g. 3G, WiMAX, LTE-TDD/FDD).

Flexibility is the focus, allowing customized approach for each operator’s unique situation:

  • Ultimately multi-mode, multi-band base stations will be part of the solution for operators in most regions
  • The Sprint “Network Vision” project represents a good example of network modernization to adapt to the new environment –multiple technologies & frequencies using a single multimode antenna

Heterogeneous Networks represent the “Next Phase” of Wireless Network Development

Wireless telcos and network equipment vendors are focusing on “Heterogeneous Nets”

  • AIR, Liquid, Light –regardless of vendor acronym focus is on 10x increase in # of radios to keep pace with network traffic growth
  • A host of vendors (and being driven by China Mobile) spending significant R&D on “cloud RAN” and other Het Netconcepts
  • HetNetSolutions will vary by operator and scenario:
  • Pico cell base stations
  • Femto cells moving into the enterprise and outdoors
  • Microcells
  • Managed, carrier-grade WiFi for mobile data offload of the cellular network

Backhaul Represents a Major Challenge to Robust Mobile Broadband  (see Figure)

Operators and vendors will need to solve the backhaul challenge at two main chokepoints –

  1. The connection between the base transceiver station (BTS) and the base station controller/mobile switching center (BSC/MSC).
  2. The “metro” hand-off from the BSC/MSCto the core network.
Backhaul Challenge to Mobile Broadband
Backhaul Challenge to Mobile Broadband

M2M Represents a Great Example of the Third Platform:

  • Digital Signage:
    • Remote billboards/digital ads (in areas where fixed broadband is not available and/or cost prohibitive)
    • Major areas of opportunity: taxis, buses, limousines, ferries and trains; targeted possibilities are enhanced further when combined with location awareness
  • Personal Fitness/Healthcare Monitoring:
  • Business(B) to Consumer(C): Operator could provide aggregated data to a consumer focused on fitness
  • B to B to C: Operator could provide active monitoring directly to clinic or hospital and react in the event of an emergency (call ambulance, forward relevant patient data, contact doctor, etc.
  • B to B to C: “Glowcaps” is such a model (see http://www.viodi.tv/2011/07/15/wireless-enablement/)

“Third Platform” networks must support trillions of transactions, which poses challenging new requirements:

  • OSS/Policy Management/Device Management:
    • Automated response is key to profitable M2M
    • Automated customer/service provisioning, authentication
    • Device/chip/module certification
  • Billing/BSS:
    • Revenue sharing among thousands of partners
    • Myriad of business models: per MB, per transaction, per month, etc.
  • Analytics:
    • Value of data gathered rests in the ability to make sense out of i
    • Intelligence will rest with network operators –ability to monetize depends on developing and packaging meaningful insights
  • Ecosystem:
    • In order to get to trillions of transactions, service providers must do much more work to bring application developers into the ecosystem

Postscript: 

Since IDC Directions 2012, there have been several articles on the topic of how wireless carriers will deal with the capacity crunch caused by the continued explosive growth in mobile data traffic- especially video streaming,  Here is a representative sample:

Fox News Opinion piece- burden on FCC to find more spectrum:

This article assumes the FCC’s hands are tied and won’t be able to come up with enough spectrum to alleviate the capacity crunch caused by continuous exponential increases in mobile data traffic.  With little new spectrum available for use in the near future, wireless carriers are coming up with new tricks to help break traffic jams on their networks as demand for mobile data surges.  The wireless telcos plan to use  various technologies for better managing data traffic such as video.
These aren’t a substitute for building more high-speed fourth-generation networks and setting up more Wi-Fi hot spots, the telecommunications equivalents of new highways.  However,  the article states these methods can help carriers get more data onto their existing mobile networks.

Another WSJ article :  Users of new iPAD-LTE  find watching mobile video has a high cost

Some users of Apple’s new iPad are finding a few hours of watching high-speed video can eat up an entire monthly data-plan allotment.  In essence,  wireless carriers are coping by forcing heavy mobile data users to pay more- either overage charges or resubscribe to top tier data plans.

Viodi View – 11/09/11

Tom Peters had it right some 20+ years ago when he suggested that the work force would be shifting away from a static, hierarchical structure to one shaped by dynamic teams that form out of a need and disband when the need goes away.  As I recall, or maybe as I infer through the lens of the present, the idea of physical proximity was not a requirement, as tools and technology would enable team members to reside anywhere.  As I listen to my pre-teens navigate the virtual world of Minecraft using both voice (yes, the telephone), as well as Facebook messaging to collaboratively build a virtual world, I realize that they are the digital natives that will fulfill Peter’s vision from so long ago.


Moving from an Agrarian Calendar

Former West VA Governor Bob Wise

Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and current president of the Alliance for Excellent Education gets that it is a different world in terms of educating children.  “We can’t get there from here,” according to Wise.   He was referring to the challenge of improving an education system that has stagnant state budgets, teachers that are retiring and the need to do a better job teaching a wider range of topics.  He talks about the idea of moving from an agrarian-based calendar to one based on achievement; one where the learning never ends.  Click here to view our exclusive video interview with former governor Wise.


Blended Learning Explained

Lisa Gillis of IES

“In its simplest form, it [blended learning] is the combination of face-to-face instruction and online or digital tools,” explains Lisa Gillis of Integrated Educational Strategies at the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s 2012 National Summit.  It is about having individualized learning plans, as well as personal touch of a teacher. Blended learning provides teachers with a tool to provide immediate feedback and understand where students need assistance.  Click here for the interview and the rest of the article.

[note:  Viodi is helping to organize the Window on Tomorrow Youth Symposium at the Media Innovation Summit in Santa Clara on December 1st, where Lisa Gillis will be speaking.  The above videos  are several in a series that look at the convergence of broadband and technology with the education field.]


A Broadband SAT Video Preparation Class

Magoosh has an interesting approach that mixes SAT preparation with video tutorials.  Built for a multiscreen world, this content is available on PCs, tablets or smartphones.   The objective of this Berkeley, CA-based start-up is to:

“bridge the achievement gap by offering all students access to high quality educational material delivered through engaging and effective videos online.”

A major motivation is to help students of all income levels and Magoosh is working with College Track (www.collegetrack.org) and the Mitchell Kapor Foundation (http://mkf.org/) to support local communities.  Magoosh claims a random sample of their students increased their SAT scores by of 17%.  The Magoosh includes 700 videos and 400 practice questions.  Bring your own broadband and check it out through the end of December to get a year of access for no charge.


Video Distribution in the Home, Tonight!  by Alan Weissberger

A few years ago many (including this author) thought that IEEE 802.11n would dominate home networking, including video transport within the home. That clearly has not happened and a lot of start ups that bet on it, went bankrupt. Instead, we have a miz of technologies, with MOCA probably used most in the U.S. because most homes here are wired with coax cable (not UTP-5 or 6). A broad range of technologies will be described and debated at this important ComSoc meeting. Click here for the details


Sprint to use Clearwire’s TDD-LTE to augment its own LTE network by Alan Weissberger

The squabbles, break ups and make ups between Sprint and Clearwire have become worthy of a prime time soap opera.  Sprint has been reselling Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX network (CLEAR) and offering its own branded “4G” smart phones along with a Samsung tablet that works on CLEAR and Sprint’s 3G network.  But earlier this month, Sprint announced it wouldn’t be supporting new WiMAX smartphones at the end of 2012.   And Clearwire can’t generate enough cash or attract funding to build out the rest of its WiMAX footprint.  Instead, the company has opted for a TDD-LTE buildout.  Clearwire provided China Mobile considerable assistance with its TDD-LTE network at last year’s Shanghai World Expo.

Was Sprint shooting itself in the foot?  After all, it owns 49.7% of Clearwire!  What happens to all the orphaned WiMAX customers next year?  Click here to read the rest of Alan’s analysis.


HOTT Neworks

Richard Bullwinkle, chief evangelist of Rovi, predicted at last month’s TVNext Conference that, within two years, we will see operators crossing traditional geographic and franchise boundaries to compete against other operators with an Over-the-Top video service. With the WSJ reporting that Dish Network is in negotiations to extend rights to certain programming to create a broadband cable system of sorts, Bullwinkle’s prediction appears to be spot-on.  Given Dish Networks’ quest to build a nationwide LTE network, they potentially have an infrastructure to create a hybrid delivery network that could compete and complement their existing network.  The topic of HOTT networks is the focus of just released report from my colleagues at MRG (full disclosure, I am working with MRG on a related report).


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:


The Korner – Social Stories of Folly and Frustration by Roger Bindl

A Scrolling Blur?
A Scrolling Blur?

Facebook Follies

Just how valuable are those fleeting Facebooks posts so many businesses use to promote their product or message? The messages quickly disappear into a blog scroll longer than than the Mississippi – with locks and dam obstacles to discourage anyone from ever trying to find significant information- so they tend to be more like missing links of Facebook follies in marketing strategies gone astray.

So what prompted that outcry? I was looking at a corporate website for information today – info that should have been on their website. The catch! It was on their Facebook page. I struggled to locate the information as I had to click “more stories” over and over and over again. I wouldn’t have even looked except I knew it was there; I’d seen it before. I was one of the few that had seen the fresh post before it got lost in the big scroll.

Click here to read the rest of Roger’s post and get an explanation for this image titled, “You Who”.

Youwho
You Who

Viodi View – 12/08/10

The holiday season is upon us and, fortunately, things will soon start to slow down for the rest of the year. That is, unless you are the FCC, Comcast, Level 3 or just about anyone else involved in the telecom business. With a vote slated for December 21st, the result of the FCC's meeting on Net Neutrality will keep the policy elves busy well past Christmas.


Network Neutrality Revisited: Level 3 Complaint & Comcast Response by Alan Weissberger

Santa will have his hands full deciding who has been naughty or nice in the Level 3–Comcast controversy. Alan Weissberger reported on this story when it broke in this article. Links to the latest crossfire between Comcast and Level 3 are in the comments section. It is interesting timing as this occurred around the same time DISH Network disconnected Comcast SportsNet California after it lost an arbitration decision.  Click here to read Weissberger's article. 


Sprinting to LTE

Alan Weissberger connects the dots regarding several different announcements from Sprint and Ericsson and infers that Sprint is building an LTE network. This is big news, as, to date, Sprint has relied on Clearwire and its WiMAX infrastructure for its next generation network build. Alan suggests, we may see a Sprint offering of an LTE Network as early as 2012.  Click here to read more.


Click here to view moreLTE vs. WiMAX: What Will the Consumer Do?

LTE vs WiMAX? Will consumers care about these TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) as they decide on a next generation wireless access plan. If today is any indication, the battle among next generation wireless networks for consumer mind share is heating up and we may find out the answer to this question in 2011.  Click here to read more. 


Silicon Valley Bubble or Barrier for Web 2.0 Startups? by Alan Weissberger

Who's got it right? Are the new breed of Web 2.0 start-ups good investments now or are they over valued for what they propose to deliver? Have the three musketeers of the new web- Google, Apple, and Facebook- created such huge barriers that it will be extremely difficult for start-ups to compete? Weissberger provides persective on these issues as he examines two recent newspaper articles which take very different points of view.  Click here to read more.


A Boon for IPTV Operators? – GoogleTV’s Acquisition of Widevine

Access to mainstream programming is one obvious reason Google purchased Widevine (announced on 12/3). With Widevine’s well-respected content protection system it should follow that the major TV brands will release their product in one form or another to a GoogleTV offering. With Widevine, Google could allow the content owners to set their own rules for how they package and sell their product on GoogleTV.  A less obvious meaning of this move is that it may create a new middleware option for IPTV providers.  Click here to read more. (image courtesy of Iacta)


Click here to learn more about Parks Associates Connections SummitPreview of CES 2011 with Parks Associates by Looking Back at 2010

We are pleased to be producing ViodiTV for Parks Associates' Connections Conference at CES 2011.  This conference is a great one for sorting through the noise of the conference floor and is a productive use of time, while at CES.  From 3DTV to remote healthcare monitoring to SmartGrid opportunities, the Parks Associates events have a broad following, such as broadband providers, content owners and consumer electronic device makers.  To see Kurt Scherf's summary of the 2010 conference, click here.    


Click here to learn moreMore About Cool Gadgets and Gizmo at CES

As mentioned in the previous issue of the Viodi View, I will be moderating a panel at the Lightbulb Communications-produced, Broadband Unlimited conference at CES. This is shaping up to be an interesting panel, as we have three expert panelists and a number of companies that will be giving us a preview of what they will be showing, for the first time, at CES. To learn more about the Broadband Unlimited Conference and its agenda, which includes companies such as OnLive, AT&T and Samsung.  Click here to learn more about this conference. 


A Christmas Gift Wishlist  for Uncle Sam

Although this was published on the Viodi site more than a month ago, this is worthy of a mention given the time of year.  The FCC is looking for technology donations for their Tech Experience Center. This is a no-brainer for technology vendors and donating their latest and greatest should be a priority.   Click here to read why Communications Service Providers should consider being part of this program.  


Wild Rice Soup from Christmas PointThe Korner – Wild Rice, Fall Snow and a Christmas Wonderland

It was chilly and snowy outside, but there were many hot ideas on how to attract customers at the Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Video Peer Group at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN. Viodi produced a mini-version of our local content workshop as a prelude to this event. This was an opportunity for us to learn from Minnesota operators as to the challenges of producing local content, while imparting some painful lessons we have learned about content production. 

To this theme of local, the MTA did the right thing by bringing this conference to a venue within one of their member companies’ service area (CTC). The facility at the Grand View was first class and state-of-the-art (HD projectors, etc.) and the grounds were beautiful and relatively affordable. Even the speaker gifts of wild rice soup from the Christmas Point Wild Rice Company of Brainerd, MN were from a local company and provided a unique way of remembering this special event.  What an appropriate name for this company, as the area gave me the feeling of a chilly Christmas morning in front of a warm, crackling fireplace.  Click here to read the entire article.  

Sprinting to LTE

Alan Weissberger connects the dots regarding several different announcements from Sprint and Ericsson and infers that Sprint is building an LTE network. This is big news, as, to date, Sprint has relied on Clearwire and its WiMAX infrastructure for its next generation network build. Alan suggests, we may see a Sprint offering of an LTE Network as early as 2012.

Sprint awarded Ericsson a contract as a key equipment and service provider for Sprint’s Network Vision program. Integral to this program is the use of multi-band, multi standard radios that will consume significantly less space and support 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz from one base-station. Weissberger points out that Ericsson does not have a publicly announced mobile WiMAX product and is a strong advocate of LTE.

Further, in the Ericsson-supplied, edited video package below, Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg alludes to using assets purchased from Nortel. A quick look at past press releases indicates that CDMA and LTE were key technologies acquired in these purchases.

Weissberger concludes, “That Sprint will develop its own multimode EVDO/CDMA/LTE network while it continues to resell Clearwire’s Mobile WiMAX; and that LTE will operate in one or more of those bands.” He suggests that Sprint will continue to resell Clearwire in 2011.

Sprint estimates a net financial benefit of $10 to $11 billion over a 7-year period from capital expenditure savings, reduction in cell sites, lower energy expenses, backhaul savings and lower roaming costs. If Weissberger is right, this series of announcements may be part of a larger Sprint effort to demonstrate to Wall Street that it is not dependent on Clearwire for its 4G offering.

And Weissberger asks the question, "What happens to Clearwire when its 2011 WiMAX build outs are complete? There does not appear to be a WiMAX 2.0 (IEEE 802.16m) in the company's future and they will certainly require additional financing (beyond their proposed $1.2B debt offering) sometime in 2011 to survive as a viable entity."

What do you think?


Note: Features such as Push- to-Talk from Nextel’s iDEN network will be part of Network Vision